Excitement fills the air for 10 local kids, 20 parents, 11 siblings, and their friends and relatives. The Cool Robots and Builders (C.R.A.B.) team from Goldsmith-Schiffman Elementary School vies for the Alabama Championship for FIRST LEGO League (FLL) on Saturday, March 2, at Hampton Cove Middle School in Huntsville, AL. For seven months, they have focused on a research project while building LEGO Mindstorms robots and exemplifying the FLL Core Values of Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork and Fun.
Last March, one team member attended the Rocket City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition at the Von Braun Center. He walked out excited and ready to join a team. His friend already owned a LEGO Mindstorms Robot home set. Upon learning that Huntsville STEAM Works offers classes and coaches for robot teams, they rallied several friends to join them in forming a team. Partnering with a coach from Huntsville STEAM Works, the C.R.A.B. team met regularly to work toward the goals set by FLL. They went into the qualifier competition with open minds and hearts, just wanting to enjoy the day and see what everyone had done. They had so much fun talking to the other teams, presenting their work, and participating in the robot games. Much to their surprise, the team received the overall Champions Award at the FIRST LEGO League Enceladus Qualifier on December 1, 2018.
FIRST LEGO League teams must concentrate on building and programing a LEGO Mindstorms robot to accomplish several specific tasks. Equally important, though, are presentations on a real world problem with a solution by the team. All of this allows them to develop critical thinking and team building skills, basic STEAM applications, and presentation skills, all with a heavy dose of creativity and fun. The C.R.A.B. team chose as their Project the topic of shielding spacecraft from meteoroid damage. They have sought out guest speakers and visited several organizations like NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office, FTC team ApeX Predators, KTECH educational facility, and soon, the Redstone Robotics FRC Team. The mentors of these 5th graders provide excellent support, with experience covering subjects in math, computer science, finance and business, physics, engineering, woodworking, and, to keep things organized, business management. This group of families have become friends and the kids, parents, and even siblings, have been able to enjoy a new positive environment.
The members of the C.R.A.B. team once again are very excited to see what other teams have done, while sharing their own experience with others, and cheering for all the teams in the robot rounds at the state championship on Saturday, March 2. All of the FIRST LEGO League teams know how to work hard, yet enjoy the fact that fun is, after all, one of the FLL Core Values.
Submitted by: Michele Keepers